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Garden Ramblings, Issue #040
December 15, 2007
December 2007

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene

If you prefer, you can view this month's issue online where you can also subscribe if this copy has been forwarded to you by a friend.

If you are reading the text version you will need to go online to see the videos.


In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- A Summer of Flowers
- Fun and Practical Wind and Weather Gadgets
- How to Grow Orchids in the Home
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece



Welcome to the December issue of Garden Ramblings. In common with recent issues there are two articles by guest authors this month.

The first is by Jim Hofman with an article on a topic that is close to every gardener's heart, the weather. His review of the various gadgets on the market might give you some ideas for any last minute Christmas gifts.

Our second guest is Jimmy Cox. His subject is orchids and how to care for these exotic plants in your home.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

And if like me you are in the middle of the cold and grey days of winter, lets start with a reminder of the summer that we can look forward to in a few months time.

Enjoy the issue.





A Suummer Of Flowers



Fun and Practical Wind and Weather Gadgets
by Jim Hofman

As a society, we're consumed with the weather. Our personal, business, and economic well being can often depend upon wind and weather conditions. Travel, shopping, and social decisions are often dependent on the weather, and it's a well known fact that most conversations begin and end with comments about wind and weather.

What's even more interesting about weather and wind is not only their impact on our daily lives, but that forecasting weather and wind have become one of today's hottest hobbies, no pun intended! Wind and weather gadgets and related instruments are now a large part of attractive home decor. Items such as portable weather stations, wind gauges, specialty thermometers, and wind and weather home forecasters serve practical and decorative purposes for the well designed home.

Let's take a look at some of today's latest weather and wind gadgets, with a description of what they do. Each of these are applicable for home use and add a fun, practical element to your home decor.

Weather Stations: These desktop weather centers are designed for those who are most interested in optimal conditions in their living area or garden. Weather stations typically display temperature and humidity levels for multiple locations, and 12-24 hour advanced forecasts. Usually, a desktop weather station shows forecasts, at a glance, for rainy, sunny, snowy, cloudy, and partly cloudy.

Wireless Rain Gauges: Designed for the gardener or hobbyist, wireless rain gauges normally have a 100' tracking range and display rainfall history tracking data. Most wireless rain gauges also track current temperature and temperature trends at a glance. In most cases, these handy units can be placed on a desktop or wall mounted.

Wind Resistant and Lighted Umbrellas: Even umbrellas have gone high tech. If you've ever had your umbrella turned inside out due to high winds, you should know that wind resistant umbrellas are designed to avoid that unpleasant problem. Further, lighted umbrellas are a unique rain protection device where the shaft is made of clear acrylic which lights up in dark conditions and doesn't require bulb replacement.

Hygrometers: Hygrometers are designed to measure and display every environmental factor imaginable. Recently, hygrometers have trended toward hand held models, designed for outdoors enthusiasts. These units display current conditions in digital format, and trends both past and upcoming.

"Family Friendly" Weather Forecasters: The latest fun weather gadgets are designed for youngsters. Animated weather forecasters show all the relevant wind and weather factors, including temperature, humidity, precipitation, and upcoming trends. The unique and fun aspect of an animated weather forecaster is a built in "weather boy" who wears an outfit appropriate for the day's weather. Geared toward children, animated weather forecasters help guide children to dress appropriately for upcoming weather.

Learning and understanding weather is no longer the cut and dried forecast in the local paper or the news channel. These fun and practical weather gadgets are part of a growing hobby appropriate for all ages.


About the Author Jim Hofman is a native Chicagoan who long ago learned to prepare for rapidly changing wind and weather conditions. To learn more about wind and weather gadgets and their purpose, visit:




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How to Grow Orchids in the Home
by Jimmy Cox



To those of us who live in crowded cities where a window box or terrarium is the only means we have of indulging a desire for green and growing plants, orchids offer special attractions. Indoor gardeners say that a house full of plants is soothing. This is certainly true of the frequently grasslike and gracefully arching foliage of orchids. But orchids in flower are wondrous beyond all other plants. Ordinary house plants have an air of quiet respectability. Orchids bring to your home an exotic touch, a hint of faraway lands. For orchid growing, a window on the south side of your house is ideal. It gets a full eight to twelve hours of sunlight. Sun on windows on the east and west rarely lasts longer than five hours, and west windows receive an intense light which may prove harmful. North windows rarely have enough light. Orchids should normally receive ten or more hours of mellow light.

As sunlight becomes brighter in summer, a muslin or close-net curtain is drawn across south and west windows from midday to late afternoon in order to protect orchids from direct light. In winter, although drapes are not desirable for diffusing light, they are needed.

At night when frost, snow, and ice chill windowpanes, curtains are drawn to protect orchids from the cold radiations of the glass. Each morning, as soon as the sun warms the windowpanes, curtains are drawn back in order that plants may have full benefit from the available sunlight. East windows, receiving only morning sun, rarely need to be shaded.

Our grandmothers covered their plants at night with newspaper cones or placed folded newspapers against the windows. This is still an excellent practice. Few materials have a better insulating value than newspaper. It may be less laborious to keep orchid plants on a movable table. Move the plants away from the cold windows at night, push them back in the morning.

One of the most successful ideas devised by an amateur's ingenuity is the plant tea table. Any tea table that is set on casters can be used. On top of the table place decorative trays filled with moist gravel. Set the potted plants on slats above the gravel. That is all there is to it, providing the gravel is kept continuously moist.

In very cold sections of the country a plant table may have removable glass sides and top which can be set up over the plants. The table may be further improved by using water instead of gravel in the trays. Into the water dunk a flat aquarium heating unit, and plug it into a wall socket on cold nights and days. Water evaporation will be faster and the air will be kept a bit warmer.

Window Box

If a movable table is not desirable, aquarium heaters and chicken-brooder heating units can be adapted to window ledges and shelves. Small heat lamps with reflectors can be installed at the top of a window. The lamps can be controlled by a thermostat and they will heat and light the window at periods when orchids need stimulation. Such supplemental light is beneficial on cloudy and rainy days and is sufficient in intensity to benefit orchids.

Sometimes orchids have been placed in trays of moist gravel set above steam radiators with excellent results. Gas heaters in a home are not always practicable; they dry the air, combustion is often incomplete, and the gaseous products often are poisonous to plants. Before you use a gas heater, check with your gas company. Use only natural gas.

The requirement of orchids for continuously fresh and buoyant air is not so difficult to meet in winter as it sounds. Open any window except that in which the orchids are kept. Don't open the window enough to create a draft or chill the room, but just enough to keep the room from being stuffy. In summer most windows will be open anyway, and all that matters then is to protect plants from dry, hot drafts.

With a little care and patience you can have a wonderful display of orchids inside your home.



About the Author How to Grow Breathtaking Orchids - Even If You've Never Raised One Before!

Click here for FREE online ebook!



Special Offers


There's just one proper sale this month. Gardener's Supply Company have launched their Secret Santa Sale where you can find discounts of up to 63% on over 100 items. It runs all the way up to December 25.



Gardener's Supply Company






At Dutch Gardens you can save $25 when you spend $50 or more. Click the banner.


Dutch Gardens, Inc.




This month Nature Hills Nursery are offering discounts of 50% on flower bulbs. Don't forget their Clearance Section where you will always find a few bargains.








Lotus - Secret Garden

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